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Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – June 2019

Present situation
In June, Albania experienced a period of strong institutional instability. The election campaign, in view of the local elections of June 30, has taken on harsh tones, so much so as to provoke a boycott of the electoral process in the main opposition party. As a result, in the middle of the month the President of the Republic decided to cancel the elections, moving the date to October 13th. Instead, the Prime Minister has decided to respond to this act by maintaining the date of the elections for June 30th. In the absence of the Constitutional Court, the only body delegated to settle these disputes, the elections were actually held on June 30th, with a total absence of the candidates of the opposition party, who withdrew from the competition as a gesture of protest. However, the international observers have tried to guarantee a correct voting process. The institutional crisis in any case is serious and risks jeopardizing the future opening of negotiations for the entry of the Country into the European Union.
Earlier this month, an administrator from the Selenicë area (Vlora) was killed while trying to quell a brawl between two cousins for ownership’s reasons. Reporting the news, the local media referred to a sort of “property curse”, since even the one who had previously held the same position as the victim had been killed 7 months earlier for the same reasons.
In mid-month, during the usual annual pilgrimage that many Albanians make to reach the sanctuary of Saint Anthony in Laç, two young men quarrelled because of the parking, and one of the two boys shot the other one, killing him. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – May 2019

Present situation
At the end of May a man was arrested in the mountains, convicted of avenging in 2012 the murder of his parents, killed by a neighbor in 2003 because of a dispute over the ownership of a stream. The arrested man had acted with his sister, who initially declared herself to be the only one responsible for the crime. The girl, at the time of the arrest, had stated that she had waited 9 years for State justice to take its course, but then, full of pain and resentment, she had chosen to resort to private justice, killing the brother of the responsible of her parents’ murder. The latter, on the other hand, is still at large.
Finally, the only indicted of Mario Majollari‘s murder was released for lack of evidence. Operazione Colomba expresses concern because, as the case reported here above, when State justice is not efficient, victims can resort to forms of private justice that often turn into blood feud’s episodes. (more…)

Operazione Colomba: truth and justice for the victims of blood feuds

“We call on the Albanian Institutions to do everything possible to bring those responsible for Mario Majollari’s murder to justice and finally give his family an answer. There is no peace without justice”.
This is what Operazione Colomba, the Nonviolent Peace Corps of the Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII Association, declares in a note with regard to the murder of Mario Majollari. According to Albanian journalistic sources, the only indicted, Kastriot Gjuzi, was acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence. In 2018 on April 10th, 28-year-old Mario Majollari, repatriated from Sweden where his application for international protection had been rejected, was killed in Tirana on alleged blood feud reasons, as his father had killed Ilir Gjuzi, Kastriot Gjuzi’s brother, in 2000. Now the questions are who killed Mario Majollari and why.
This case brings the attention back to the case of the murder of Marie and Kol Qukaj, killed in 2012 on June 14th, in Dukagjin, whose perpetrators have not yet been identified. Also in this case the reasons for the murders seemed to be due to a feud between two families. Two years after this double murder, some relatives of the victims tried to take revenge, resorting to private justice. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – April 2019

Present situation
During the month of April, we recorded some cases of injuries due to blood feud phenomenon. In the middle of the month, a village chief was injured because of a previous property-related conflict. The dynamics of the episode shows the abuse of the Kanun and the misuse of its practice. Indeed, the man was hit by a few gunshots while he was on the balcony of his house, although the domestic dwelling is a traditionally sacred place, where taking revenge is forbidden. Furthermore, in April, a man, who had arguments over property issues in the past, was injured. His wife said she is very scared and in danger because her family had previously been threatened and attacked. (more…)